What Is The Current Wisdom for IBIS/IS On or Off?

YuengLinger

EOS R5
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Dec 20, 2012
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Yes, this is a question that has been coming up for years. Now, in 2020, Canon has given us two full-frame IBIS models that work with IS and non IS lenses.

I need to do some controlled tests with subjects moving at moderate speeds, but, on the R6, I'm seeing modest but surprising motion blur in images up to 1/1250th of a second. Some where they are walking, some where they are jogging, and some where they are standing still.

I don't think this discussion must be limited to R5/R6 users. What is your IS/IBIS strategy for handheld shots? Do you turn it off above a certain shutter speed? For all subjects? Moving? Still?

What if your subjects are going past you, but your lens doesn't have a Mode 2, or panning IS?
 
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Joules

doom
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Jul 16, 2017
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I don't think this discussion must be limited to R5/R6 users. What is your IS/IBIS strategy for handheld shots? Do you turn it off above a certain shutter speed? For all subjects? Moving?
This is not something I have tested rigorously. But I am pretty certain my combination of 80D and Sigma 150-600 C produces less sharp images when IS is enabled at higher shutter speeds, with the stock OS modes (not configured through the dock).

I have seen in the past someone try to explain this by pointing out that the position of the lens elements in the IS units is updated at a certain rate (say, 500 Hz, 500 little movements in each second). These motions also take a little bit of time. If your shutter speed is so short, that it is less than the update rate, it was claimed that the motion of the lenses could add to the blur, rather than help averaging it out over multiple updates like when a slow shutter speed is used.

Not sure how much sense this makes. Are IS systems really operating in discrete steps, rather than a continuous control loop? Especially Canon ones? I guess I should spend some time actually quantifying if there is a difference with the OS in my Sigma. At least for static subjects.

One thing I would add is that if leaving IS on at fast shutter speeds would have a negative effect on IQ, that I would expect Canon to disable it in software automatically. Like it is claimed to work on tripods. But, for one they did not do this with shutter shock and the fully mechanical shutter, nor give a warning about the bokeh and DR effects of EFCS and fully electronic shutter either. And it may also be that a user simply prefers the stabilized focus and viewfinder over the absolute maximum of IQ and so the IS must be consciously de or enabled by the user. Hard to tell.
 
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YuengLinger

EOS R5
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This is not something I have tested rigorously. But I am pretty certain my combination of 80D and Sigma 150-600 C produces less sharp images when IS is enabled at higher shutter speeds, with the stock OS modes (not configured through the dock).

I have seen in the past someone try to explain this by pointing out that the position of the lens elements in the IS units is updated at a certain rate (say, 500 Hz, 500 little movements in each second). These motions also take a little bit of time. If your shutter speed is so short, that it is less than the update rate, it was claimed that the motion of the lenses could add to the blur, rather than help averaging it out over multiple updates like when a slow shutter speed is used.

Not sure how much sense this makes. Are IS systems really operating in discrete steps, rather than a continuous control loop? Especially Canon ones? I guess I should spend some time actually quantifying if there is a difference with the OS in my Sigma. At least for static subjects.

One thing I would add is that if leaving IS on at fast shutter speeds would have a negative effect on IQ, that I would expect Canon to disable it in software automatically. Like it is claimed to work on tripods. But, for one they did not do this with shutter shock and the fully mechanical shutter, nor give a warning about the bokeh and DR effects of EFCS and fully electronic shutter either. And it may also be that a user simply prefers the stabilized focus and viewfinder over the absolute maximum of IQ and so the IS must be consciously de or enabled by the user. Hard to tell.

Thanks, Joules. I think that as we are now getting into higher megapixel territory, some of the many technologies in our cameras and lenses are beginning to show they have limitations--or need to be adjusted to work better together. It doesn't take much of a shift to show up, I believe, at 45 MP on the R5, which might be why any "out of sync" issue with IBIS/IS (and perhaps the shutter?) at the moment of capture is becoming apparent to more photographers.

If Canon and other companies have just recently begun to understand this, then I'd guess first come workarounds, such as what you mention--different behavior at different shutter speeds, set to change based on shutter speed.

I'd really like to learn more about how sports and wildlife photographers handle various shutter speeds and IBIS/IS. I think the IBIS part of this might be something even the most experienced pros are still experimenting with, especially if they are primarily Canon shooters.

Do we need new "best practices" advice for when to turn IBIS/IS off and on? Or just keep it on always as before IBIS? Before denser megapixels?

I hope the sensors in the mirrorless bodies, when IBIS is off, are held tightly enough in place to behave exactly as they behave on bodies without IBIS (if that is optimal!).

The number of decisions based on lighting type, shutter speed, burst needs, bokeh quality, etc. are beginning to pile up. Until the wonders of global shutter are available to all, we need a good flow chart to understand "WHEN, IF, AND, ELSE, THEN" for some of our settings!
 
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Joules

doom
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I'd really like to learn more about how sports and wildlife photographers handle various shutter speeds and IBIS/IS. I think the IBIS part of this might be something even the most experienced pros are still experimenting with, especially if they are primarily Canon shooters.
I think at least on the Canon side of things you'll require a good amount of luck to have a sport photographer stumble on this thread who both has the fortune of having received a R5 already, and have access to sufficient sport events to gather good experience (Covid).

It would indeed be very nice to hear from them though!

Until the wonders of global shutter are available to all, we need a good flow chart to understand WHEN, IF, AND, ELSE, THEN, and OR for some of our settings!
This is something I've found lacking for quite a while. Maybe I just have not come across it, but having people who have participated in the development, early testing and optimization of the products share their results and rationale for certain things would be such a value compared to all the marketing materials companies release. You named good examples where surely someone internally has performed testing and may or may not have changed aspects of the design based on them. But another great example would be the overheating discussion on the recent R bodies.

If Canon would have simply themselves released a video of somebody explaining what numbers they saw, and why they chose to go with the shell and cooling design we got, instead of just putting out a single table and some fine print, could have saved them so much bashing. Instead, they left it up to the community to do the testing, and speculate on the reasons or ways to improve based on at best very limited understanding of the factors at play. But I guess there really is no such thing as bad press.
 
Nov 23, 2020
3
2
Yes, this is a question that has been coming up for years. Now, in 2020, Canon has given us two full-frame IBIS models that work with IS and non IS lenses.

I need to do some controlled tests with subjects moving at moderate speeds, but, on the R6, I'm seeing modest but surprising motion blur in images up to 1/1250th of a second. Some where they are walking, some where they are jogging, and some where they are standing still.

I don't think this discussion must be limited to R5/R6 users. What is your IS/IBIS strategy for handheld shots? Do you turn it off above a certain shutter speed? For all subjects? Moving? Still?

What if your subjects are going past you, but your lens doesn't have a Mode 2, or panning IS?


I did some tests today using a Canon R5, Canon 100-400mm 1:4.5-5.6 L IS II USM, and a Canon 1.4x Extender EF III mounted on a Benro tripod.
The camera and lenses were about 50 feet from a flat target point with a slanted target beside it, much like a Squit Photo calibration, in full sun.

I was trying to test the following: IS or NoIS. Servo or Single Shot, Full Frame versus Crop, Teleconverter or No tele with crop in post, Focusing with magnification or straight autofocus in camera or liveview, and shutter speed. Lots of combinations but I'll summarize.

The easy one is shutter speed. 1/200 at 400 and 560mm was soft but acceptable. Higher shutter speeds had sharper results. 1/2000 worse than 1/4000, worse than 1/8000. Faster was better, no new knowledge there.

Full Frame was better than crop in camera. Both were sharp but the full frame with a crop in post seemed like it had more detail and contrast. I will not be using crop but will just crop in post. My focusing didn't seem to be any better using the crop feature. Maybe my technique needs refined.

IS was always sharper than non-IS in every scenario I tested. With and without the teleconverter.

Using the Teleconverter resulted in a bit softer images however I didn't adjust the position of my camera by moving the 400mm tripod position to equal the 560mm tripod position, nor did I adjust the f stop accordingly. I would still use the T.C. in the field under the right conditions unless I don't need it, then native is better.

Single shot was sharper than Servo. I think that was the biggest takeaway for me. When shooting a static target from a tripod I'll be turning off my Servo mode. I tend to leave it on all the time, no more in that shooting scenario. Live view,. and magnified focusing were both soft.

I believe the biggest variable in the magnified focusing and live view was the camera shake I introduced by touching the camera while it was mounted on a tripod. Those ever so slight touches cause a soft image. I should have tested with a remote release to isolate this variable.

Those were my tests as I was trying to learn how my new R5 operates and is matched to lenses and conditions.
Hope this helps. I'm open to others doing the same type of tests.
 
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Joules

doom
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I did some tests today using a Canon R5, Canon 100-400mm 1:4.5-5.6 L IS II USM, and a Canon 1.4x Extender EF III mounted on a Benro tripod.
The camera and lenses were about 50 feet from a flat target point with a slanted target beside it, much like a Squit Photo calibration, in full sun.

I was trying to test the following: IS or NoIS. Servo or Single Shot, Full Frame versus Crop, Teleconverter or No tele with crop in post, Focusing with magnification or straight autofocus in camera or liveview, and shutter speed. Lots of combinations but I'll summarize.

The easy one is shutter speed. 1/200 at 400 and 560mm was soft but acceptable. Higher shutter speeds had sharper results. 1/2000 worse than 1/4000, worse than 1/8000. Faster was better, no new knowledge there.

Full Frame was better than crop in camera. Both were sharp but the full frame with a crop in post seemed like it had more detail and contrast. I will not be using crop but will just crop in post. My focusing didn't seem to be any better using the crop feature. Maybe my technique needs refined.

IS was always sharper than non-IS in every scenario I tested. With and without the teleconverter.

Using the Teleconverter resulted in a bit softer images however I didn't adjust the position of my camera by moving the 400mm tripod position to equal the 560mm tripod position, nor did I adjust the f stop accordingly. I would still use the T.C. in the field under the right conditions unless I don't need it, then native is better.

Single shot was sharper than Servo. I think that was the biggest takeaway for me. When shooting a static target from a tripod I'll be turning off my Servo mode. I tend to leave it on all the time, no more in that shooting scenario. Live view,. and magnified focusing were both soft.

I believe the biggest variable in the magnified focusing and live view was the camera shake I introduced by touching the camera while it was mounted on a tripod. Those ever so slight touches cause a soft image. I should have tested with a remote release to isolate this variable.

Those were my tests as I was trying to learn how my new R5 operates and is matched to lenses and conditions.
Hope this helps. I'm open to others doing the same type of tests.
To clarify: the camera was mounted firmly on a tripod, and you only touched it to press the shutter? And used no timer for all of the shots?

If so, what do you expect this to mean for shooting situations were you actually need the IS?
 

YuengLinger

EOS R5
CR Pro
Dec 20, 2012
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I did some tests today using a Canon R5...

The easy one is shutter speed. 1/200 at 400 and 560mm was soft but acceptable. Higher shutter speeds had sharper results. 1/2000 worse than 1/4000, worse than 1/8000. Faster was better, no new knowledge there...

IS was always sharper than non-IS in every scenario I tested...

Single shot was sharper than Servo. I think that was the biggest takeaway for me. When shooting a static target from a tripod I'll be turning off my Servo mode. I tend to leave it on all the time, no more in that shooting scenario. Live view,. and magnified focusing were both soft.

I believe the biggest variable in the magnified focusing and live view was the camera shake I introduced by touching the camera while it was mounted on a tripod. Those ever so slight touches cause a soft image. I should have tested with a remote release to isolate this variable.

Those were my tests as I was trying to learn how my new R5 operates and is matched to lenses and conditions.
Hope this helps. I'm open to others doing the same type of tests.

Wow! Thank you for taking the time to report the test shots you took! This information is all very helpful. A few points are surprising.

Shutter speed. I am very surprised you were getting "sharper" results as shutter speeds went beyond 1/2000th. Was it significant? Do you think using a 2 second timer would change things?

And the IS "always sharper than non-IS," is, again, a surprise. I really did not know that on a tripod at very high shutter-speeds the IS was improving things. Again, I wonder what effect using a timer, or as you suggested, a remote, would have. It seems you already realize that the act of pushing the shutter button was introducing shake.

Was there any wind when you tested?

Finally, one of your most interesting findings regards Servo AF. I know that on the R, Servo AF with very wide apertures is what sold me on mirrorless. As I almost always shoot handheld when below f/2.2, I saw immediately the benefits--consistently tack sharp eyes at rates I'd never experienced on a dSLR. But out of habit, I did switch to One Shot for static on a tripod. I never actually tested, but usually on a tripod I'm at a tight enough aperture where I don't expect it makes a significant difference. I imagine f/5.6 at 400mm and 50 feet away could still have shallow enough DoF where Servo might be making unnecessary adjustments at the moment of capture?

Again, thanks! If you try any of these situations with the 2 second timer, please share more! And I'm going to try some of these myself, though at this time my longest lens is 200mm.

Welcome to CR!!!
 
Nov 23, 2020
3
2
Wow! Thank you for taking the time to report the test shots you took! This information is all very helpful. A few points are surprising.

Shutter speed. I am very surprised you were getting "sharper" results as shutter speeds went beyond 1/2000th. Was it significant? Do you think using a 2 second timer would change things?

And the IS "always sharper than non-IS," is, again, a surprise. I really did not know that on a tripod at very high shutter-speeds the IS was improving things. Again, I wonder what effect using a timer, or as you suggested, a remote, would have. It seems you already realize that the act of pushing the shutter button was introducing shake.

Was there any wind when you tested?

Finally, one of your most interesting findings regards Servo AF. I know that on the R, Servo AF with very wide apertures is what sold me on mirrorless. As I almost always shoot handheld when below f/2.2, I saw immediately the benefits--consistently tack sharp eyes at rates I'd never experienced on a dSLR. But out of habit, I did switch to One Shot for static on a tripod. I never actually tested, but usually on a tripod I'm at a tight enough aperture where I don't expect it makes a significant difference. I imagine f/5.6 at 400mm and 50 feet away could still have shallow enough DoF where Servo might be making unnecessary adjustments at the moment of capture?

Again, thanks! If you try any of these situations with the 2 second timer, please share more! And I'm going to try some of these myself, though at this time my longest lens is 200mm.

Welcome to CR!!!
The sharper results of the increasing shutter speed from 1/2000 up to 1/8000 was not significant but I could see a difference at 400x magnification in Lightroom.
There was a slight wind. I tried to take the shots when there was a lull in the wind.
The photos were taken at f 8.
I think a remote would have made a difference in many of the conclusions. At 560mm any movement of the camera can cause softness, even at 1/2000.
A remote might have had an impact on the IS-NonIS shooting as the IS stabilizes some of the shutter trigger release but the conditions were the same for both types of shots, IS and non-IS.
On the Servo issue I'm speculating that the IS might cancel out any benefit gained from the servo mode on a fixed subject. It might actually make it worse (speculation on my part).
 
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Nov 23, 2020
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To clarify: the camera was mounted firmly on a tripod, and you only touched it to press the shutter? And used no timer for all of the shots?

If so, what do you expect this to mean for shooting situations were you actually need the IS?
Yes, the camera was mounted firmly on a tripod, the lens was attached to the tripod via a mount. I only touched the camera to trigger the shutter except for my liveview shots where I touched the back of the camera. The liveview touching was not a good thing which tells me camera shake is a strong variable in these 560mm shots.
The shooting situation I was referring to was the teleconverter, not the servo. I would still use servo on moving subjects. In my test conditions I was shooting a fixed subject from a tripod.
 

Methodical

EOS 90D
Oct 27, 2013
100
19
I have the R5, but have not been able to shoot any sports with it, however, with DSLRs, I have never used IS when shooting sporting events. I always turn IS off, even when shutter speed may only be 1/500. I handhold and use monopod, depending on lens. I use a monopod when I shot with the 500 and now 600mm lens. I handhold/use monopod (perhaps 50/50) when shooting with the 300 2.8 IS lens, but that comes down to being able to be mobile. And, when shooting indoors (mainly basketball), I always handhold with no IS on and shutter speeds gets down to 1/500. I just never needed IS for sports and I never liked how the motion looked through the VF with IS on. I found that few sports photographer around the net used IS mode 3, particularly when it was first introduced by Canon, but I never felt the need to do so. What's interesting though is I always have IS mode 3 engaged when shooting birds/wildlife with the 600mm lens on a tripod. I think because the IS doesn't kick in until the shutter is released, so I never see that IS motion in the VF, but never for sports. I've seen a few Youtuber's video where some have shot sports with the R5/R6. Ask some of them.

Hey, that might be a good poll to post for those who shoot sports.


Just One Man's Opinion...